Pound cake. As a metaphor.Posted: August 11, 2011
I like pound cakes. Literally and figuratively.
Meaning I like the way they taste, but too, I like the fact that there’s nothing special about them. To make them, you need five or six ingredients, two bowls and a pan. That’s it. They’re so self-contained, no icing is required. Unlike a birthday cake or a cheesecake, you don’t need an occasion to make one. You can eat it on its own – or stuff sweet in-season peaches between slices, add some whipped cream and be extraordinary.
I want to be like a pound cake. Simple. Low maintenance. Appealing when doing nothing special and a knockout when I put a little effort into it.
Instead, apparently I give the impression of being more of a four-layer dark chocolate layer cake with espresso gouache, a molten caramel center and, of course, a crunchy nut topping.
As always, the truth lies somewhere in between.
There’s a certain charm to the theory of living simply, but the literature on the practice isn’t particularly appealing. Throw out what you haven’t worn or used in six months? Only buy enough fresh food for a day or two? Wait—we have seasons here—and while I haven’t worn my ankle-length down coat in quite a few months, I have a feeling I may want it come January. I’ll want a full freezer and pantry then too, in case the weather makes it impossible to get out. It happens. It has. In my circumstances, “living simply” could end up meaning “living cold and hungry.”
Perhaps it’s a matter of degrees. Within a 10 mile radius of my house, there are seven or eight self-serve storage facilities—and signs of more to come. It seems we’ve become so laden with stuff that we don’t want, need and or have room for that we need to rent it its own place.
Granted, I shouldn’t point fingers until I deal with the 20-odd boxes in my basement that haven’t been opened since we moved four years ago, but at least I’m conscious of the situation. Conflicted too—I find the various “Hoarders” shows on TV more frightening than any horror film, but it’s not likely I’m ever going to part with the postcards my grandparents sent me when I was four.
There’s got to be a simply solution to this. Something like “own stuff—don’t let it own you. And when in doubt, eat pound cake.”